A person’s psychological health is the state of their mental well-being, including their feelings and thoughts. It influences their ability to cope with life’s stresses and problems. Good psychological health enables them to function effectively and to make a positive contribution to society. Poor psychological health can lead to negative behaviors that damage personal health, undermine relationships and work performance. It can also be a risk factor for the development of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
In recent years, the field of psychology has experienced a significant shift in focus from disorder and dysfunction to well-being and positive mental health. This movement has caught the attention of epidemiologists, social scientists and economists in addition to psychologists. The concept of mental health has even been incorporated into the World Health Organization’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
People with mental illness have lower levels of satisfaction with their lives than those without it. They are more likely to have a comorbid medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, and to be hospitalized for potentially preventable reasons. They are also more likely to live in poverty, and to be incarcerated or homeless for behavioral problems like substance misuse or suicidal ideation. They tend to have lower quality of life, and are less active in community-building efforts than those with good mental health.
Mental disorders can be caused by a variety of events, including childhood trauma, violence, accidents, loss and addictions. They may also result from genetics, brain function and environmental factors. Symptoms include moodiness, difficulty thinking clearly, low self-esteem and depression. They can lead to negative behaviors, such as substance abuse and addictions, that can destroy a person’s family and career and have a lasting impact on their life.
It is important to realize that it is not a sign of weakness to seek help for a mental health problem. When we feel a toothache, we don’t try to ignore it or tell ourselves that we have to suffer through it. It is the same with a mental illness. Those who get the help they need and take care of themselves with therapy, medication or other treatments are stronger than those who don’t.
Everyone has a responsibility to support those with mental illness. This includes family members, friends and coworkers. It is also important to recognize that some people are more vulnerable to the onset of mental illness for various reasons, such as a lack of social support, poverty and racial or ethnic minority status. Research suggests that, for example, African-American youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system have higher rates of behavioral problems than their non-minority peers and are less likely to receive treatment (Rosen et al., 2021). These communities are also more prone to depression, anxiety and substance use than other populations. This makes it all the more crucial to provide these populations with effective mental health services.